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This Week

Perspectives

Chris Jepson

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But were it that easy. To change. This is the time of year of resolutions. All the grocery store check-out aisles sport self-help magazines touting their sure-fire formulas with headlines promising: “Keeping those resolutions! This year will be different!” For $5.95, noted American psychologist Ima Yoking lays out her five sure-fire success steps to keeping your New Year’s Resolutions! Don’t delay! Be a stronger man! Be a happier woman! Start today!

And, just perhaps you will . . . buy the magazine. A little over a decade ago, on my 50th birthday, I decided to get into shape. And I determined that chin-ups were just the ticket for achieving a balanced body. As a matter-of-fact, chin-ups are a recommended exercise and to that end I constructed a super-duper chinning bar in my backyard.

It was a project and boy, do I love projects!

I went to Home Depot (aside: I’m more of a Home Depot kind of a guy than a Lowe’s. Ever notice that folks shopping at Lowe’s actually look like they put themselves together? You know, comb their hair, wear a shirt that truly matches, say, their shorts. Not so much at Home Depot and that’s just fine by me). I buy 12-foot sections of 1-1/2 inch threaded galvanized pipe, bags of concrete and enough pressure-treated wood to build a fine platform for standing on in-between sets of chin-ups. I’m feeling so fit already. I am!

I get out my fence-post diggers, dig two 36-inch deep holes, insert tube forms and set the pipe in concrete. I then construct a ma-hootchie of a platform. It’s a work of art. I loved looking at it. I did.

There it stood in all its glory, an extraordinary backyard chinning bar, par excellent. Any football team would have been proud to have lined-up to use it. I had thoughtfully considered its placement in the yard and carefully constructed it under a towering oak for shade. And I could look at it. Lovingly, adoringly. From my back porch.

I love the illusion of order. Seriously. Human beings like to feel they are in control of life. We do. We look at nature, at our lives and we go to great ends to instill order in both. Don’t deny it. We break the day into hours, our lives into years to achieve mastery over time. Our physical environment is no different. Reflect on (what I consider the lame) business model of California Closets if you think me off base. Order! “Ve must haf order!”

“Alas poor Yorrick! I knew him.” No, no, it was alas poor chinning bar, I barely knew you. I cannot remember when the bloom fell off the rose, maybe when I hit 25 chin-ups and my right shoulder started aching. And there it stood, such a solid reminder of good intentions, a monument to once-firm resolution. Oh, what folly we pathetic humans!

What’s that inexcusable bromide? Lemons? Make lemonade.

Back to Home Depot for hanging flowerpot brackets and for years I had the finest orchid stand in the neighborhood. Hands-down! And built? Was that baby well built!

My advice: Be it resolved . . . to forgive, nay embrace the folly in yourself.

Happy New Year to my faithful reader.